Norquist Defends Mythical Reagan Against Real Reagan

So Jeb Bush incautiously suggested that Ronald Reagan would probably be considered a tax-raising, Democrat-coddling RINO if he were around right now, and the unofficial keeper of the Temple of Reagan, Grover Norquist, freaked out.

It would be a silly nothingburger of a story if not for the immense power Grover Norquist exercises over Republican politicians, and the equally immense mythological presence of Ronald Reagan in the conservative imagination.

Norquist was definitely annoyed at having to deal with Reagan’s actual record, so he explained why the real Reagan wasn’t relevant:

He didn’t have a Republican House committed to not raising taxes as president. And he had a pre-Reagan Senate. This is the Republican Party that Reagan created — that he envisioned.

Uh huh. And Grover, no doubt, is the commissar Reagan “envisioned” to make sure today’s Republican Party–which he also “envisioned”–would do not as he did but as Grover says he woulda shoulda coulda done if everything had been different.

Cults are really hard to maintain when there are so many people still around who remember the cultic objects before their images were blurred by smoke and incense.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.